THE NUE'MON ("ICE BIRD")

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - MYTH/LORE - RESEARCHERS

The Nue'mon (Kuglimz lit. "Ice Bird", plural form is Nue'mon as well) is found in cold climates. This puts them mostly in Northern Sarvonia. In the rare instance that the Nue'mon is found in Santharia it is known as the Yuliel Bird, named after the researcher who proved it could be found south of the Tandala. The bird also has several other names throughout Northern Sarvonia. Amongst the Ice Tribes it is known as the Cicle Bird.

Appearance. The Nue'mon is one of the smaller birds found in the world of Caelereth. It is only on average seven nailsbreadths in total length. It is narrow at the beak and then gradually widens towards the middle, the Nue'mon then tapers back down towards the tail feathers. This gives the bird's body an overall elliptical shape. The eyes are large for its size and located on the side of the head rather than more in the front. This gives the Nue'mon great peripheral vision. It is covered overall in fine white feathers. The pinion and tail feathers have a light blue tinge towards the outer edges of the feather, and the males have some along a short crest on top of their head. They have a total wingspan of four nailsbreadths. The tail feathers are a little wider than they would be on a bird of comparable size. This allows them to hover for a longer period of time when they fan out their tails.

The beak of the Nue'mon is about one third of the bird's full size, approximately two nailsbreadths. It is curved slightly at the end, which better allows it to feed. The beak is a slightly flexible extension of the jaw being a thick piece of cartilage with white scales and fine down covering it. The down picks up pollen as the bird feeds. They have small feet which don't seem like they will even hold up the Nue'mon. The legs are thick skinned with small white plates covering them, which not only helps insulating the feet, but also protecting them from the sharp thorns of the alth'mon.
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Special Abilities. The Nue'mon are especially adept in surviving in cold climates that are found in Northern Sarvonia and selected mountain ranges in Santharia. First off the down and close placement of feathers along with white scales on exposed skin helps to insulate the bird from the cold winds that are common to the areas that it inhabits. The most helpful quality of this bird is its amazing ability to flutter its wings at a speed of one hundred flaps a minute. The rapid and constant movement keeps the bird's heart beat and internal temperature at a higher rate than the average bird.

Their colouration allows them to blend in well with the snow covered hills and mountains that are often the background to their habitats. So even if you are standing near one, you may miss it. It is also a very quick bird, due to the rate at which it moves its wings. This is another great defensive mechanism against the larger predators of the area, as the Nue'mon flitters and weaves its way out of danger. The snobyrr in particular seems to find this frustrating.
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Territory. While the Nue'mon can be found throughout the lands of the Ice Tribes, they are more rare as one travels south. In the central and southern areas of
Northern Sarvonia they are known to reside in the Imlith Mountains and the Prominent Mountains. The Nue'mon or - as the bird is known in Santharia - the Yuliel Bird can be found in some of the higher mountain passes, including the heights of Norong'Sorno. Since they do not migrate it is thought that they moved into Santharia during the Year of Darkness when the world grew colder and many of the alth'mon in the north died. Return to the top

Habitat/Behaviour. The Nue'mon moves its wings so rapidly that it actually creates a buzzing noise. It has been recorded that the buzzing takes on a slightly different pitch at different times. Later a researcher named Yuliel found that there was a consistency to the changes of the wing vibration dependent upon the situation the bird was in. It is in fact theorized that they use the different tones that they create to communicate amongst each other, rather than calls like most birds.

The rate at which they move their wings seems to be the reason behind the peculiar way that they fly. Instead of going from one point directly to another they tend to be rather erratic and flit around from one flower to another. Though they are completely harmless it must be said that if a person finds themselves in a field of alth'mon flowers they may suddenly find twenty or so of the Nue'mon flying quickly about them with their peculiar buzzing sound. They swoop and flitter so much that it seems as if they are attacking you.

The Nue'mon seem to have an almost symbiotic relationship with the alth'mon. That plant is their main source of food as they drink the nectar from the flower it produces. The down on their beaks pick up the pollen and pollinate other alth'mon plants when they go to feast from its nectar. In fact it is only around large areas of alth'mon plants that the Nue'mon can even be found. It is not known whether or not they can consume the nectar of other flowers, but the alth'mon is at least their main food source.

One of the more interesting behaviors of the Nue'mon occurs during the the winter months. Instead of migrating to a warmer climate in the middle of fall, so as to escape the cold winter months, they actually remain in the territory that they live in. They are very active throughout the fall months drinking all of the nectar that they can. There is a noticeable increase in the bulk of their body from their feasting. They then proceed to nest in small crevices and holes in the sides of the surrounding mountain or hill side. They block up the entrance to the crevice to block out the snow and wind. Then they go into a state of hibernation in which their normally rapid heart rate goes down to a near non-existent rate.

Nue'mon live on average only six to seven years. Their short life span is accorded to the strain put on the heart by the quick, constant beating it has to do to allow the bird to survive.
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Diet. The Nue'mon is only known to feed on the nectar of the alth'mon flower. This limits its habitat as they are only found near patches of this plant. It is thought that perhaps in time of great need they could also drink the nectar of other plants, but that is unknown. One researcher even went so far as to claim that it nursed an injured Nue'mon on a mixture of sugar and water, thought this claim has never been validated.
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Mating. During the third month of the year the females of the species begin building their small, approximately a palmspan in size, nests in rock and tree hollows from small leaves and bits of alth'ho grass that are woven tightly to help keep future eggs warm. During the fourth month of the year the Nue'mon begin their courtship rituals. While all of the birds are feeding, the male will begin flitting around the female with the short blue crest of feather on his head being the main thing he tries to entice her with. It appears that the darker the blue coloring of the crest the more favourable his position.

Once he has caught the attention of the female the male begins an intricate flight of loops and turns along with sudden hovering in a single spot. If the female is attracted by his initial aerial dance then she begins to fly around him. It is then that the beauty of the ritual begins. Both genders begin to fly around each other in intricate designs which become executed more and more rapidly until they are almost a blur. Then the two forms become one and they couple in the air.

After this the female is exhausted and goes back to her nest where she spends the next week formulating and laying a clutch of three to five eggs. After the eggs are laid it is the male who takes on the task of laying on them and warming them. After two to three weeks the eggs begin to hatch. The newborn chicks have completely white down, and their beaks are not curved at all. Over the next four weeks they gain their flight feathers and their beak slightly curves. After that they are quick to become independent and are soon flitting about on their own. They will reach full maturity within a year and continue the cycle of mating and nesting.
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Researchers. A Stratanian by the name of Orioson Yuliel, a prominent researcher, is the most knowledgeable Santharian on the subject of this bird. While exploring and catalouging the animals and plant life that inhabited the heights of Norong'Sorno she came across a patch of alth'mon flowers and to her amazement there were Nue'mon amidst the flowers feeding. She had never heard of the bird before and thus introduced it as a newly discovered species. Through later research and travel she learned that the Yuliel bird, as it was now named, was well known above the Tandala Highlands and was named the Nue'mon. To her credit she did attempt to rectify her error in the bird's name, but the name stuck and thus Santharians still refer to it as the Yuliel Bird. Return to the top

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